Beware of Online Job Scams

As of May 2024, the national unemployment rate was 4 percent, a whopping 10 percent less than at the start of 2020, when more than 23 million Americans lost their jobs due to business closures and other pandemic-related issues. With an unemployment rate so low, workers have the potential to be paid a higher salary and, therefore, spend more money, which is ultimately good for the economy if inflation is kept at bay.

With more jobs available in the market, more would-be job applicants are searching high and low for the perfect job opportunity. Businesses that offer hybrid and work-from-home options are among the most sought-after. However, these remote roles and the people applying for them have recently become prey to fraudsters.

Job scams, typically in play for identity theft purposes, are nothing new. In fact, the Identity Theft Resource Center saw a 545% increase in job scams reported between December 2023 and January 2024! All that to say, if you’re seeking new employment opportunities, be wary of scams and know what you can do to protect yourself from becoming a victim. If your business is actively hiring, also consider letting prospects know what to expect during the interview and hiring process so they can feel comfortable that the opportunity is legitimate.

Tips to Avoid an Online Job Scam

  • An interview will typically take place in person, over Skype, Zoom, or other popular video chat platforms. Do not download a third-party app or conduct an interview via text message.
  • Check the company’s official website for the job posting, and make sure you are visiting the real website and receiving an email from the company’s actual domain.
  • Legitimate jobs typically do not ask for any upfront fees for things like uniforms or computer equipment.  Don’t pay for a finder’s fee or a background check.

Watch for These Red Flags

  • The would-be employer only communicates via email, no phone calls or video chat.
  • No interview was done prior to the job offer.
  • The offer sounds too good to be true.
  • The email address for the “employer” is not from the business domain (e.g. jsmith@apple.com)
Lindsey McLain
Lindsey McLain
Lindsey is a Supervisor in the Special Investigation Unit at ICW Group. Lindsey has investigated 100s of cases; many resulting in criminal charges filed by state prosecutors, and thousands of dollars in restitution paid to ICW Group. In addition to conducting fraud investigations, she also presents and produces anti-fraud training for ICW Group personnel, and hosts fraud prevention webinars that reach thousands of customers nationwide.

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